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'If you're going to go down, go down doing something good for the community' | Virginia restaurant owner delivers free meals to elderly

It's unclear if 'Juan More Taco' will survive the impact of the coronavirus. Even with that uncertainty, the owner is feeding hospital staff and the elderly for free

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — Maria Martin originally started her restaurant, Juan More Taco, as food truck in 2016. Her first year in a brick-and-mortar building was rocked by the coronavirus outbreak. 

Like many other restaurants, Martin recently started offering carry-out orders only for her customers, but she wanted to do more.

"My heart told me to do something. If you're going to go down, go down doing something good for the community," Martin said.

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Martin put out a call on Facebook, letting people know shew as going to start delivering free meals to the elderly. With schools and other organizations offering meals to children, she didn't want the elderly to be unsupported.

"I grew up in Honduras, and I know what it is to need something and not be able to have it. I know what it is to go to bed and be hungry and I just don't want anybody to go through that," Martin said.

Some customers have stepped up with donations. Some as small as a meal, and others as large as $1,000. 

You guys...I fell on my knees crying, this is so humbling! I'm speechless...this generous donor wishes to remain anonymous but I want to say THANK YOU for the world to see. Muy agradecidos! May God...

Other customers are helping to safely deliver these meals, practicing social distancing. 

The people on the receiving end of the daily deliveries are grateful for the support of the community. 

"I thought this was just a one time thing. We didn't think it was going to be every day. I closed the door and got ready to start crying because nobody's ever done anything like that for us," said one recipient of Martin's deliveries. 

Several local Girl Scout troops have also stepped in to provide cookies with the deliveries. This week a local book store also brought book donations to drop off with the food. 

With an unclear end to the coronavirus outbreak, Martin is unsure if her business will survive this. 

"For me, at this point, I'm not afraid of losing the restaurant. That's not my priority, my priority is my employees. They're all college students and my fear is if they are going to have money for rent tomorrow," Martin said. 

Martin and others who have been helping deliver the meals say it is heartwarming to see the community come together to support those in need. Right now, there are 30 meal deliveries going out daily. 

In addition to feeding the elderly, the restaurant is also providing meals to the staff of several emergency rooms in the area like Stafford Hospital, Spotsylvania Hospital and Mary Washington. 

The restaurant will continue to provide the free meals as long as possible. If you are interested in donating or helping out, you can go to 'Juan More Taco's' Facebook page for more information.

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